I have to confess that my heart sinks a bit as I find myself listed among episcopal bloggers heading for Lambeth – look at this for example. There is clearly an opportunity to give people in my own diocese and elsewhere a flavour of how it is. But I haven’t worked out in my mind what the Chatham House or other rules for this ought to be.
At this moment, I’m busy trying to get to the point at which I can walk away and go to Lambeth. I feel curiously uninvolved in it all – and rather uninformed and unprepared. The good stuff? I am very much looking forward to being part of such a big international event. I haven’t experienced much of that in my life – just to be in that great multi-cultural mix will be very enriching and enlivening.
I don’t really expect this to be the sort of ‘make or break’ event that people expect. Two reasons for that.
First that the people who are passionate at either end of the sexuality divisions tend to present their arguments in a way which ensures that no resolution is likely. There is no space for winners and losers. I saw enough of that in my former life in Northern Ireland. It took me a long time to realise that it was sometimes the healthiest thing to acknowledge it and live through it. But however much people deny it, there is always an inexorable movement towards dealing with the issue – everything leads back to the same place but it may take a while.
Second – there is movement taking place all the time. But it happens ‘off centre’. Just to take one example, I have been reading Kenneth Stevenson’s ‘A Fallible Church’. Look at Bishop James Jones’ article about the impact which the triangular relationship between Liverpool, Virginia and Akure [in Nigeria] has had on him. It’s through those kinds of long-term relationships that we grow towards one another.